Creating a destination hub
By Kris Leonhardt
GREEN BAY – The more massive an object is, the stronger the gravitational pull.
The same might be said of the concept behind Discover Green Bay’s new $8 million visitors’ center going up on the west side of the Titletown district in Ashwaubenon.
The project was funded in part by private donations and a $2.5 million grant from the Tourism Capital Investment Grant Program as part of the state’s COVID-19 relief fund.
Discover Green Bay CEO Brad Toll said the size and scope of the facility had a lot of intention behind it — to serve as an attraction and a destination hub.
“That’s the challenge we brought to our architects Somerville; [it] was basically, we want it to be a building that’s stunning, very attractive, that people see and want to come into,” Toll said.
The imposing structure will feature a lot of glass components, including stained green and blue glass elements.
Toll said that while the Green Bay Packers draw about six million people to Green Bay each year, many of them visit Lambeau Field and leave the city.
“So this building is going to spread those dollars all over the community and hopefully keep them here a little bit longer,” he added.
As the building rises to prominence, Toll said that the center will provide tourism information as well as educate visitors on who the people of the Green Bay community are by highlighting the indigenous peoples’ lands and the Europeans’ arrival, the lumber and paper industries and the transportation/shipping industry.
Wisconsin Secretary of Tourism Anne Sayers toured the facility in mid-construction at 1945 Argonne Street on May 9, while the state was recognizing the 40th annual National Travel and Tourism Week.
Sayers stated the importance of trying to distribute more dollars in the Green Bay community.
“They’ve anticipated what the traveler is going to want and really become a centerpiece for the entire Titletown experience. We are thrilled to see something like this come together. We know when that visitor has an opportunity to be with somebody who really knows the area it can help them think through what their day is going to look like at the destination, the traveler is likely to spend a little more time in the destination, probably buy some more meals, probably take in more attractions and thereby leave a little more money behind and that is really good for all of us as taxpayers in Wisconsin,” she said.
“When we move travel forward, we move the entire state’s economy forward.
“This building is a testament to what we are able to do in the tourism industry.”
On May 9, Discover Green Bay also released initial tourism numbers for the region.
“2022 proved to be a banner year in the Greater Green Bay area’s tourism industry,” Toll said. “Demand for travel was high, nearly reaching 2019’s record levels. People just wanted to get out of their house and explore our region; we look forward to continuing that momentum through 2023 and beyond.”
Initial numbers show that hotel room sales increased by more than 9% from 2021.
The 2022 total economic impact of meetings and conventions held was $75 million.
Discover Green Bay also confirmed 150,303 room nights for future years which will generate an estimated economic impact of $111 million.
Sporting events held in 2022 used 59,205 total room nights, with an economic impact of $30 million.
“Discover Green Bay’s advertising campaign and organic social media efforts combined to generate 35.11 million impressions nationwide, generating 1.3 million page views to greenbay.com to help potential visitors plan their trips,” the report stated.
“Discover Green Bay’s public relations efforts generated more than 800 million views of Green Bay-related content.”
Toll added, “We’re extremely proud of the team and communities efforts to ensure that Green Bay remains a top Midwest destination. The numbers in 2022 paint a positive picture for the future of tourism and its economic impact in our region.”